Zombie Apocalypse is a game that takes the concept of Left 4 Dead (up to 4 people working together versus zombies) and combines it with the old style play of games like Robotron 2084, Smash TV and Total Carnage. You play as one of four characters, none that have anything special over the other that I noticed. They each have short bios at the select screen and each of them seems to be somewhat mentally unstable after reading through said bios.
Once you pick a character you're off to take out the overwhelming numbers and waves of different types of zombies. From the beginning you are armed with a machine gun with unlimited ammo and a chainsaw that you can either use for standard chopping or for more exquisite mangling of the zombies. Controls are rather simple in that you run around with the left analog stick and shoot in the natural directions with the right analog stick. Yep, the return of the dual stick controls and it works just as well as the games I noted above. The only weird thing is that the levels themselves are larger than the screen, so you could find a zombie coming out of nowhere to try to take you out.
While you go through the game there will be temporary weapons upgrades that you can grab and use such as shotguns, dual machine guns, Molotov cocktails, a rifle that can take out multiple enemies in a line, etc. Along with this you also have a pink teddy bear bomb that the zombies are attracted to. The bear is funny because it says, "I'm full of love…and C4!" at various times. You can take out a lot of enemies at one time with him, although they don't work very well in co-op because the zombies will probably be blown away before the bear goes off since the ratio between people and zombies is a little more even.
The game is spread out over 55 days and seven stages that repeat throughout the game. Sometimes things are mixed up in the areas like the lights being shut off, but for the most part you are repeating areas just with different and stronger enemies. Each stage has a few hazards in it to help eliminate the undead. For instance one stage has a jet engine that sucks zombies in, another has a car compactor. A nice trick to use is to lure the zombies into the traps by throwing the pink teddy bear. "My favorite color is red!"
There are a number of different zombie types to keep things interesting though. You have your standard one, a burly one that can take you down if they grab you, a granny that throws knives, a sheriff that shoots a shotgun when close to you and many others. My immediate reaction when I first saw the sheriff zombies was that the location this game happens in has an awful lot of sheriffs. You'd think they could have contained the zombie outbreak before they all got changed, but I guess not.
The game is very difficult if you traverse through it by yourself simply because there's no one to back you up against the huge number of zombies trying to get you on each day. Add into this the innocent bystanders that you can defend until an air rescue unit drops a ladder and give you massive points for defending them. Since there is a necessity to move all around while shooting the zombies, defending the bystander in order to get the massive points becomes quite hard.
When you bring either local or online co-op into the equation, the game becomes a much better experience. You suddenly see the score multiplier that goes up one level ever five zombies taken out goes up exponentially versus going at it alone. You also now have other people that can divide the zombie groups up and allow two or more of you to circle around a bystander and defend them even better. The co-op side of the game is so much different than playing alone and is really the only way to play and enjoy this game.
I didn't know this early on and died a lot because of it, but you are able to shake off zombies that grab you by flicking the left analog stick around, or on the PS3 by shaking the controller which uses the Sixaxis abilities. The burly zombie cannot be shaken off since they immediately bring you down if they grab you. For the most part you can shake off the zombies and continue building your multiplier and score more points. It is nice that you can continue as much as you want, although the game resets your score. On the plus side it keeps your overall kill number. When you quit and come back you can choose a day up to the one you've beaten and the same goes with the multiplayer part of the game.
Along the way you will also unlock seven other game types including Hardcore mode that gives you just one life and no chance at receiving extra lives through point bars., Blackout mode where all the lights are turned off and 7 Days of Hell mode where you must survive a week along with others.
As a single-player game, Zombie Apocalypse is not very good and is difficult to finish completely through the 55 days. Co-op play through brings this game up quite a few notches and becomes rather enjoyable. It was amazing to see how quickly you get through levels with up to three other people helping you. There is even a little competition since each person is ranked on things like kills and limbs shot off. Bottom line is this game is a great one to pick up if you have friends that want to play with you locally or online, it simply isn't as enjoyable playing alone.